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Tucker Carlson’s Ship of Fools

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Tucker Carlson
Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution
New York: Free Press, 2018

Many on the Dissident Right have a thing for Tucker Carlson. Like Ann Coulter, Carlson is one of the few mainstream media personalities whose positions seem to conflict very little with our views. He’s actually an interesting phenomenon since he has a knack for identifying many of the Right’s enemies and asks them all the correct questions, and yet professes to hold middle-of-the-road (and typically American) values. He also almost never punches right. This has led many dissidents to wonder if he is /ourguy/ in disguise, a based shitlord undercover in the Overton window who, with a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, has got our backs in an extremely important theater of the broader culture wars.

As with his gig on Fox News, Tucker Carlson’s new book, Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution, keeps this question open-ended. Maybe he is just Opie from The Andy Griffith Show, all growed up and pining for the more idealistic and less fractious America of his youth? Maybe he would attack the Right if the Right simply had more power in today’s society? In either case, the central theme in Ship of Fools is a familiar one to people on the Right: that Democrats and Republicans have converged into a hostile elite that works counter to the interests of the majority of Americans. Predictably, not once does he insert the word “Jewish” before the word “elite”; nor does he insert the word “white” before “Americans.” As such, literate, red-pilled members of the Right won’t have terribly much use for Ship of Fools.

It is a book primarily for normies and best for those who are still not sure whom they are going to vote for in the midterms. At first glance, there really isn’t too much that distinguishes it from anything written by Rush Limbaugh or Michelle Malkin. Yet, Ship of Fools does separate itself from the conservative pack for reasons extremely important and absolutely essential for the existence of the Right these days. It has a sense of urgency – one might even say fatalism – regarding our national character and future as a nation. Carlson sees a civil war on the horizon and argues that the Left and Left-leaning members of the Right are the ones who are primarily responsible. They are also the reason why we got Donald Trump in 2016. If the Left wishes to not have populist nationalists like Trump in the White House, then they’d better clean up their acts and start catering to the needs of the majority.

Tucker most often uses the tack of calling for ideological consistency and then expressing rhetorical dismay when the subjects of his book do not seem to care about ideological consistency. For example, he bemoans how the Left used to act as a safeguard against corporatist abuses, but now, with Silicon Valley, billionaire CEOs like Jeff Bezos, and moguls like George Soros bankrolling much of the Democrat Party, the Left has seemingly abandoned this platform. Carlson points to how Paul Krugman once criticized Soros for his predatory capitalism, but has since cooled it on the goose laying the golden globalist eggs. Only Ralph Nader gets high marks for consistency, since Nader has stayed true to his liberal ideals, which he formed as far back as the 1960s. Sadly, according to Carlson, Nader no longer wields much influence on the Left, which is the price he has to pay for his consistency.

In place of the classic liberal, pro-worker agenda of the Democrat Party, liberalism today centers around identity politics, thanks in large part to it having been bought out by billionaires. Carlson brings up how Uber exploits its employees and how Apple deals with factories in China that overwork employees to the point of suicide. Yet these two entities get a pass from the modern Left for being politically correct in all the right ways.

Companies can openly mistreat their employees (or “contractors”), but for the price of installing transgender bathrooms they buy a pass. Shareholders win, workers lose. Bowing to the diversity agenda is a lot cheaper than raising wages.

Carlson turns to immigration by pointing out what’s obvious on the Dissident Right: that identity politics on the Left and the desire for cheap labor on the Right have caused the current immigration crisis in America. While we know the Right hasn’t always been this way, Carlson points out that the Left hasn’t, either, and offers a brief history of the nativist attitudes of organized labor in America. Prominent in Ship of Fools is Cesar Chavez, who adamantly opposed illegal immigration and would often employ brutal methods to enforce this opposition, such as assaulting Mexican “wetbacks’ (Chavez’s term) as they crossed the border into America.

Carlson pinpoints the moment of change on the Left as the 2004 presidential election:

In a single presidential cycle, everything changed.

In 2004, gone were concerns about protecting U.S. workers, stemming a torrent of illegal border crossings, or punishing employers reliant on illegal workers. Instead, the 2004 Democratic platform called for an amnesty for illegal immigrants and a path to citizenship. Vows to protect the border focused only on keeping out terrorists, drugs, and weapons, not on illegal immigrants themselves.

The 2008 platform went even further. Now, not only did the party demand an amnesty for current illegal immigrants, but it also called for an across-the-board hike in immigration visas for both family members and skilled workers.

The Democratic Party now endorsed unrestrained mass immigration.

Paul Ryan, of course, faces the pointy end of Carlson’s pen for going soft on immigration as well. Ryan’s March 2018 spending bill outlines the contempt with which the Republican elite views the immigration crisis. It limited the hiring of additional ICE agents, limited the number of illegal immigrants the agency could hold at any time, and while it allocated $1.6 billion for border security, not a dime of that money could be spent on a wall. Meanwhile, the bill paid for border security in various countries in the Muslim world.

As with Nader, Carlson brings up another lost soul on the Left who was foolish enough to remain buoyed amid the inexorable wave of progress: John Tanton. Tanton, a co-founder of the Sierra Club and lifelong progressive, opposed increased immigration back in the 1970s because he feared the catastrophic environmental effects of the increasing human population. Tanton remained a liberal in good stead until the Southern Poverty Law Center (as is their wont) recently attempted to smear Tanton as a Nazi. After this, no environmentalist would support him, and thanks to a $200 million cash influx from a pro-immigration activist billionaire named David Gelbaum, even the Sierra Club has disavowed him. (It was either that or be lumped in with “racists and white nationalists,” according to Carlson.) Carlson reports that Tanton is currently living in a nursing home and suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and so can no longer defend himself from his enemies.

Then, of course there’s the neocons. Any fan of Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News will know that Carlson really has it in for truculent “conservatives” who tirelessly beat the war drums during George W. Bush’s presidency but have now abandoned conservatism thanks to a Republican president who is less committed to war than his predecessors. Max Boot and Bill Kristol get justifiably shellacked in this chapter. For schadenfreude value alone, it’s probably the best bit in the book, and the one the Dissident Right would likely enjoy the most. Indeed, Carlson’s characterization of Boot as a neocon Yosemite Sam who hasn’t yet found an enemy of Israel he didn’t want to invade is downright hilarious.

In retrospect, Boot’s words are painful to read, like love letters from a marriage that ended in divorce. Iraq remains a smoldering mess. The Afghan war is still in progress close to twenty years in. . . .

What’s remarkable is that despite all the failure and waste and deflated expectations, defeats that have stirred self-doubt in the heartiest of men, Boot has remained utterly convinced of the virtue of his original predictions.

Carlson dishes it out on Kristol just as effectively. Not only does he quote Kristol admitting to purging paleocons such as Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan from the Republican Party, he also quotes him from 1997 as wanting to invade Iraq for the sake of Israel. But my favorite line involves a little dirt on Kristol and his smug hypocrisy that only an insider can know (emphasis mine):

The animus wasn’t personal. Kristol got along with Buchanan when they saw each other. Kristol didn’t even disagree with most of Buchanan’s views on social questions. In private, Kristol was as witheringly antigay as Buchanan was in public. The disagreement was entirely over foreign policy.

In keeping with the theme of the book, Carlson attempts to demonstrate how both Left and Right have converged to make these senseless twenty-first-century wars happen. He describes how the Left used to be anti-war (especially during the Vietnam War), and then chronicles the pro-war attitudes of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. He also reminds us of how a majority of Democrat senators voted in favor of the Iraq War in 2002. He doesn’t forget to include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to take out Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

While interesting, painting Democrats as being as hawkish as neocons might be the biggest stretch in the book. One can argue that despite its occasional belligerent rhetoric, the Left is as anti-war as it has been since Vietnam. Yes, Bill Clinton waged wars, but after the debacle in Somalia he put few boots on the ground and preferred air strikes and missiles to get his way. He offered tepid responses to the first World Trade Center attack, as well as to the attack on the USS Cole. Most tellingly, he had his chance to take out Osama bin Laden and chickened out. Carlson mentions none of this. He also doesn’t mention that Barack Obama’s use of drone strikes follows the same pattern on the Left: don’t fight, bomb.

George W. Bush and his neocon handlers, however, put boots on the ground that resulted in thousands of American servicemen dying, and thousands more enemy dead on the field. Yes, Carlson’s point about Left and Right converging on war is well taken, but one side really was more gung-ho about war than the other – that is, until Donald Trump came along. Carlson speculates that this might be one reason why increasingly-irrelevant hawks like Boot and Kristol hate him so.

While Carlson’s chapter on speech suppression is useful for anyone tracking the decline of America, it would be an equally hard sell to lay such suppression at the feet of the Right. So he doesn’t do it. He simply excoriates the Leftist elites for turning their back on the First Amendment, something that most on the Left would never have done fifty years ago. He covers Milo Yiannopoulos’ and Ann Coulter’s aborted speeches at Berkeley, Charles Murray’s getting shouted down at Middlebury College, the ACLU’s refusal to protect the speech of the protestors at the first Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, and similar bits of twenty-first-century political ephemera. Despite abandoning his central theme of convergence, this chapter winds up being a nice reminder of how anti-free speech the Left really is. It also provides names that folks on the Right should never forget, such as Wisconsin District Attorney John Chisholm and Prosecutor Francis Schmitz, who ordered illegal raids on the homes of conservative activists in 2015 following Governor Scott Walker’s reelection. I certainly would have forgotten that sordid episode if not for Carlson.

Carlson’s greatest accomplishment with Ship of Fools is to accurately describe the current and future troubles of the republic without taking sides on race. Many of the bugbears in the book are clearly Jews, and Carlson makes no mention of it. Neither does he mention race realism. And yet, his points ring true. America is slipping into tribalism and identity politics. America is headed for another civil war.

Right now, the fault line is between whites and nonwhites. But as America grows more racially diverse, rifts will inevitably open between more groups. In a tribal system, every group finds itself at war with every other group. It’s the perfect perversion of the American ideal: “Out of many, one” becomes “Out of one, many.” This is the unhappy, blood-soaked story of countless civilizations around the world. It never ends well.

But it does make for effective electoral politics, and that’s the point. There’s no faster way to mobilize voters than to stoke their racial fears, while promising to deliver for their particular tribe. It’s irresistible. At the moment, the coalition of identity groups has held together because it is united against white male power. But rapid demographic change makes this unsustainable. When the traditional scapegoat becomes insufficient, various factions will turn on one another. Chaos will ensue.

So, does this mean that Carlson sees identity politics for white people as a bad thing? Bad, but necessary, perhaps. To his credit, he doesn’t explicitly blame white people for engaging in it. Perhaps he secretly supports white advocacy? Perhaps he’s just being a good journalist by keeping his opinions to himself? In either case, he predicts that America will be “over” the moment whites become like any other interest group, squabbling over public funds. He’s right about that. He also does not want that to happen.

While most on the Dissident Right predict that it will happen—and, not only that, must happen, given what we know about human nature—Tucker Carlson holds out hope that it won’t, that the America he grew up in will be restored, and that the descent into identity politics can somehow be reversed. Ship of Fools is an eloquent testament to that hope. Ironically, however, it is Carlson’s own arguments of convergence and Leftist oppression that threaten this hope. If our elites are as bad as Carlson says, then, really, what hope is there?

People on the Dissident Right have prepared themselves for the day when that hope will be dashed forever. I just hope that when that day comes, we’ll make room for righteous whites like Tucker Carlson, who will finally want to come in from the cold.

Spencer J. Quinn is a frequent contributor to Counter-Currents and the author of the novel White Like You.


  1. Posted October 30, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    You wrote: “He also almost never punches right. This has led many dissidents to wonder if he is /ourguy/ in disguise, a based shitlord undercover in the Overton window who, with a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, has got our backs in an extremely important theater of the broader culture wars.”

    What in God’s name are you talking about? What is /ourguy/? Did you mean to say “biased” instead of based? I don’t know what a shitlord is, either. Maybe you are just so cool, and I’m an ignoramus. Generally speaking, I think it’s a good idea to avoid trendy jargon.

    • SO
      Posted October 30, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Oh come on, you can’t at least put the effort into looking up these terms? Overton Window is hardly a new phrase, either. Come on, guy.

    • Tim
      Posted October 30, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      “Ourguy” = a man with solid, right-wing principles, who can be trusted upon to act in the interests of our people. “Jared Taylor is /ourguy/.”
      “Based” = pertaining to or possessing fundamental right wing beliefs. “Jared Taylor is so based!”

    • Calvin
      Posted October 30, 2018 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      *Confused boomer intensifies*

      The New Right is memecentric, sweatie

    • Rob Bottom
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 1:34 am | Permalink

      Whoa, who dusted off the museum exhibit? Just kidding. I can explain:

      Mainly used on 4chan, /ourguy/ is anyone in the public sphere who acts as a representative of the user’s views, mainly race-realists who are hip to the JQ. “Based” is a tiresome example of black ghetto rapper speak that has infected the white vernacular. It’s a complimentary term for someone. A shitlord is a keyboard warrior who mocks leftists and their positions while deliberately throwing out the PC rule book. Carlson is often referred to in this manner by the younger set because of his willingness to tread the line of acceptable public opinion in a liberal world, recently asking if diversity truly is a strength.

      I agree with you that internet slang will date an article, but in this case I read it as tongue-in-cheek.

  2. Samuel Nock
    Posted October 30, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    We debate about whether various people are gateway drugs to the right, usually Alt Lite types like Sargon or McGinnes. In Tucker Carlson’s case, I think he may be a legitimate gateway drug even though being less explicit than even many on the Alt Lite. He manages to skewer all the right people in a way that uses humor but raises the sympathetic viewers ire. Personally, I cannot fault people like Ann Coulter or Tucker Carlson for “hiding their power level” because they are doing far more good for us using their current approach.

    Speaking of Max Boot, here he is complaining that no one is reviewing his new book, and how that is a conspiracy(!) of silence. Someone needs to break it to him that he is irrelevant. No one — Left or “Right” — is buying his attempts to co-opt every political movement into fighting more wars in the Middle East.

  3. Jon
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Really enjoyed the review Spencer. Keep up the great work.

  4. Ukraine Trump
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Extremely well-written review. Tucker seems to understand racial realities crystal clear. I think he’s trying to do all he can to expose the situation for what it is, and come as close as he can to the uncrossable line, without actually crossing it. In this attempt, he is masterful trapeze artist. And the reason he is masterful is that we sense he understands the situation, without having to be fired for “hate speech.” We’re better off having him at Fox News, rather than struggling among us.

  5. sterplaz
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    The next civil war in America will be a race war. A race war against Whites.

    But it will not be a war with all non-whites on one side and all Whites on the other. No.

    It will not even be all non-Whites allied with political LEFT Whites versus Whites on the political Right. No.

    It will be all non-Whites allied with Whites on the political LEFT versus Whites on the Right who are racially aware and racially loyal. Other political Right Whites will sit it out, “on the fence” so to speak, waiting to see how the chips fall.

    If at any moment it looks like the political Right Whites are going to even start losing, the political Rights on the fence will come down and self righteously denounce the race aware/loyal Whites (doing the fighting) as bigots/raysis/haters etc. If, on the other hand, the non-Whites allied with LEFTIST Whites are losing the political Right Whites on the fence and wait until the last possible moment and then and only then come down off the fence; muttering “White power” and other homilies, as if they were there with us (race aware/loyal Whites) all along.

    And they will want to share political power in new America that is all White after such a race civil war. I say the hell with them. There will be two tiers in the new all White world; those who rule (fought for an all White society) and those who are simply worker bees (those who wouldn’t fight … much at all that is).

    • Ukraine Trump
      Posted November 2, 2018 at 3:57 am | Permalink

      That’s a fairly interesting analysis. Here’s my most likely scenario: A Globalist Marxist nut like Kamala Harris gets elected president in 2024. She arranges for law enforcement agencies to collect all the data from Google/Faceberg/YouTube on ThoughtCriminals (conscious whites). They start prosecuting us and throwing us into prison. Some of the militias start resisting with their guns. The Democrat-controlled Congress overturns the Second Amendment. The Deep Red States start to secede. At that point, the country descends into civil war. Only the U.S. isn’t preserved. It begins to break down into ethno-states, which will involve much blood. And, of course,in that mess, we need take care of the Marxists and the Cucks who betrayed us for so long. Whaddaya’ think?

      • sterplaz
        Posted November 2, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Ukraine: I believe our (White’s) worst enemy will be the numerous White cucks who think it is oh-so-noble to be against their own kind/race. They will be a particularly vicious opponent, due no doubt to their attempt to blend in with us so as to betray us.

        I really, genuinely do not feel that much danger from any particular non-White racial group. We Whites can dispatch them quick enough; many times when they outnumber us.

  6. Genie Energy Intern
    Posted November 1, 2018 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    So Tucker’s book is sturdy and dry-witty, but I don’t see much point in reading it, as a semi-regular viewer (the only Fox News program I watch, although Ingraham is harmless) the book is a predictable compilation of broadcast talking points, not a manifesto or his much needed extrapolation of our drear future.

    Nor does his book appear to confront Fox News’ tres awkward switchfooting…after Trump won, O’Reilly got dung’d, and Roger Ailes’ fat lady sung. Prior to Trump, Fox News was THE treasonous operation that wrapped the neocon Zio-agenda in the American flag. Evil CNN in 2018 is a surreal joke, but it’s nothin’ compared to the damage of Ailes’ Fox reign, from illegal MENA wars, to praising the Patriot Act to arguably mastering modern Fake News. And surely Tucker didn’t forget Megyn Kelly’s siccing Trump in the Fox News debate? A backfire so hot her hair got shortened.

    Perhaps he has an NDA. And this brings up a similar question: how much pressure is Tucker under to bite his tongue at Fox News? They clearly put the kibosh on Tucker’s dogged, heated investigations of the 2017 Vegas massacre and this year’s bust of a Muslim desert compound, where kidnapped children were allegedly being trained as “school shooters.” Most importantly, Tucker went hardline against the cabal’s linking Assad to chem weapon attacks, in 2017 and earlier this year.

    I remain puzzled why Rupert Murdoch hired Tucker to fill O’Reilly’s vacuum? He gets robust ratings, sure, but he is by far the least J-friendly of any major news host. The dexterity of his verbiage puts the Js on pause. And as Quinn’s review addresses, his ageless schoolchap affability and morality makes him an unflappable target for smears and scandals. I’m unsure what Fox News’ longterm agenda is…I’m sure Tucker is problematic to it. Quinn asks if Tucker will “come in from the cold” after SHTF. That’s the thing. I can’t picture Tucker outside MSM, once SHTF. And part of me fears that’s why Murdoch hired him: to excitedly play the violin on the Titanic. Boomers expect it to sink and fade under demographic waves. But it’s going to implode via the enemy, in a way we won’t foresee. Does Tucker mount up? Or does he jet off to New Zealand, grow a beard and negotiate for Ship of Fools 2?

    • sterplaz
      Posted November 2, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Genie: I, too, have wondered how long Tucker will last now that the children (millenial hipsters i.e. LEFTISTs) are going to be in charge of FOX news. I have many times, when listening to Tucker talk about the targets of the LEFT, thought out loud that it is Whites who are the real targets of the LEFT.

      There has always been a political LEFT in the US of America. But it wasn’t until the late 1800s and early 1900s that the political LEFT became focused against the White majority of America. This is due to jews storming these shores and getting ahold of news/entertainment/academia and turning those three into the premiere cultural institutions and decidedly against the White majority.

      I am sure that Tucker realizes who the real power behind the political LEFT is; ((( The Tribe ))). Equally, he knows he would be gone in a New York minute is he said the slightest thing negative about them.

      I think Tucker’s days were numbered at FOX from the very beginning.

  7. Posted November 1, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, guys, for explaining this to me! You’re right, I’m a boomer (born during the Baby Boom), which makes me old. I spend all my time working on a novel, so I don’t wander around the internet very much, and I am almost totally unaware of all the slang. Thanks for letting me in on the latest!

  8. metal_gear
    Posted November 2, 2018 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I met him at his book signing in NYC at the end of September and thanked him for his coverage of South Africa. I told him I thought that was the future in America. He agreed, saying “that’s what they want.”

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